For fans of Melodic Death Metal… do yourselves a favour and check out Hollow World, from Melbourne , Australia.
Let’s talk music and gear with guitarists Theo and Michael, and their latest effort…’Valley of the Ghelgath’
‘Valley of the Ghelgath’ is somewhat a departure and a new beginning for Hollow World, Can you describe the sort of vibe you guys were aiming for?
To date this is the heaviest/most technically demanding thing we’ve written so far.
I know that sounds so cliché , but that doesn’t make it any less true. We’ve recently had a new vocalist join us, it felt right to expand our style and test some new waters.
How and why did you first pick up the guitar?
Michael: I had some guitar lessons as a kid but didn’t really get serious about playing until I got into Metallica, Iron Maiden, etc. when I was about 15.
The first electric guitar I bought was an Epiphone LP Standard, which I played through a crappy little 15W practice amp. The built-in distortion sounded like angry bees, but it got the job done.
Theo: I’d always had access to guitars throughout my childhood because of my dad playing, but never really learnt anything more than a couple of blues riffs until I was about 15 or so. After taking some lessons I heard Metallica’s self titled album (The Black album) and just knew that metal was my first and foremost calling after that.
The first couple of years of my playing were all done on a Gibson Les Paul 58 copy that my dad built back in the 70’s.
First album you purchased ?
Michael: The first album that I remember buying was “Pokémon 2.B.A. Master”. The PokéRap was the coolest shit.
Theo: Limp Bizkit, the chocolate starfish and the hotdog flavoured water, I got it right as sanity was phasing out cassette tapes, I’d heard people at school raving about it and wanted to be cool! Listened to it for quite a while before I moved on haha
So…How did you end up playing “technical melodic death metal”, was there a particular album in that genre that just did it for you?
Theo: It started for me with hatecrew deathroll by Children of Bodom, Then I heard The Faceless and The Black Dahlia Murder a couple of years later and it all fell into place!
Michael: The Black Dahlia Murder (in particular their album ‘Deflorate’) did it for me along with Arsis, I heard this fast paced aggressive music and it was the first time I had come across something showcasing that speed and melody weren’t mutually exclusive in metal.
What kind of attributes do you look for when choosing an electric guitar
Michael: My current favourite guitar is my Ibanez Prestige RG752FX 7 string with Illuminator pickups, the neck is super thin and comfortable to play on, and the Illuminators work well for tight metal tones.I tend to prefer “superstrat” shape guitars with good upper fret access, humbuckers and fixed bridges, things like floating bridges and middle pickups don’t really fit my playing style and tend to get in the way.
Theo: Ever since I talked a friend into selling me his Ibanez EX series guitar I have been obsessed with Ibanez, I had thirteen at one point. But last year that all changed. I put a deposit on an Ormsby HypeMachine (Made in Perth by Perry Ormsby) and started slowly selling off my Ibanez collection. As far as specs go I tend to play 7 string guitars with medium output pickups and fixed bridges. I like thin necks and flowing designs.
Can you describe your approach to songwriting — how do you decide which riffs good and which are bad?
We usually bounce ideas and riffs around via the internet, through demo recordings and tabs. Occasionally we’ll jam out some new riffs at practice, but most of the writing gets done in front of a computer. When someone comes up with a idea that we all like, we’ll add more parts to it and flesh it out into a song.
Writing time tends to vary a lot, some songs have been left half-written for nearly a year before we’ve managed to finish them off, whilst others have been one session wonders.
Tone-wise, what was your recording setup like?
For guitars everything has always been an axe fx 2. It’s just so versatile and tweakable. Plus we can worry about getting super tight takes first and dialling in a good tone later and re-amping it.
Any particular amp/cab models or patches you gravitate towards?
Our patches usually are fairly standard, a boost feeding into a Mesa dual rec in parallel with a Peavey 6505 and out through a mesa cab. Standard death metal tones right there! The longer I’ve been playing and tracking the more apparent it becomes to me that what makes a player is really how they play, not what they’re playing through. That definitely will affect things, but a truly talented player always shines through with the little nuances that make them who they are.
What’s your live setup like?
Theo: My signal path goes from guitar, into a Line 6 relay G90 rackmount wireless, which has a tuner output into a Korg DTR-1000 (I can press the tuner button on my wireless pack and instantly mute my amp for silent tuning), from there I run into a Boss noisegate, my custom made AA HM2 + Super OD 2in1 and then the input of my Mesa dual rectifier. I have a Framus 2×12 loaded with scumback speakers.
Michael: My current live setup is my Ibanez RG752FX running through a Line 6 G50 wireless, into a Maxon OD808 and Boss NS-2 running into the front of a 3 channel Dual Rectifier. I have a Boss RV-5 reverb pedal in the effects loop that I turn on for leads & solos.
You recently released ‘Valley of the Ghelgath’ … what next?
We are going to release the EP that Ghelgath is from in June/July and will be playing a string of interstate shows to support that and hopefully get the word out as much as we can.
Give us your best “wtf” live show experience…
There’s this venue in Geelong called the Barwon club, we played there last year and this local bloke who looked to be in his late forties just went nuts, dancing like a total lunatic and trying to get everyone else to join in, then getting annoyed when they didn’t. After the set finished he was demanding we cover The Angels or Cold Chisel.
A couple of weeks later we were talking to some mates in another band about playing the show in Geelong, the first question they had “Was old mate there?!”, apparently he’s a regular!
Gotta love the regulars!
Thanks for taking the time to give us your insights
You can check out Hollow world on:
Theo’s Custom HM-2+SD-1